Category Archives: Music

12 Bar Club

I was asked to photograph a small charity gig at the 12 Bar Club in London’s Denmark Street a few weeks back. This was an event to raise money for the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity and featured a number of acoustic acts including Keef Jackman, Chloe Turner, Pat Crilly and Steve Ingrey.

The main performance area is relatively small and lit by a handful of LED PAR lamps, so the conditions were quite challenging. This is where my fast f1.8 lens comes in useful! Despite the subdued lighting I was very pleased with the results I achieved. I’ve posted a slideshow of the event in the galleries section of the website, so just click on the link below to see the shots. I’ve also includee links to the club and charity for anyone who’s interested.

12 Bar Club Slideshow

www.12barclub.com
www.helenrollason.org.uk

Sofasonic

I caught Sofasonic when they headlined Sunday Live at Hertford Corn Exchange. The locally-based four-piece are recently back from The States and have a handful of gigs lined up for the rest of the year.

I’d not seen Sofasonic before but any band with a female bassist has got to be good and they certainly didn’t disappoint, tearing through a 50 minute set.

You can find more photos on my Facebook page. You can check out the band’s website at sofasonic.co.uk.

Frankie The Gambler

Not only are Frankie The Gambler great on stage but they’re also naturals in front of the camera. We took this shot at Wilkestock, using an old Chesterfield on the grass nearby (the bar is surrounded by old sofas – a festival quirk!).

We took a number of shots of the band in various eccentric poses but this was by far the standout image. Post-production editing included blurring the background, removing a slightly distracting member of the bar staff, cross-processing the colour and adding a vignette. You can see the original image by hovering your mouse over the picture. You can also click on the image to see a bigger picture.

Wilkestock 2012

It was great to cover Wilkestock again this year, taking photos of the artists, activities and festivalgoers. This is one of my favourite gigs of the year with lots of opportunities to meet people and and get new likes on my Facebook page.

This year’s festival was a three day event with two stages, a cinema and two dance tents, together with an extended camping area and 360 degree bar. There’s always plenty to photograph at Wilkestock and no shortage of people willing to have their photos taken!

You can find over 300 photos from this year’s event over on my Facebook page or just click on the links below.

Wilkestock Day 1
Wilkestock Day 2
Wilkestock Day 3

If you’d like to find out more about my event photography just pop along to my main website.

Wilkestock: Official Website

Rock At The Castle

I had a great day photographing Rock At The Castle on Sunday. The event is one of the bookends of the Hertford Music Festival, this year marking the start of the three week festival with a line-up of bands that included The Ghost of Samantha, The Huxleys and Suburban Dirts.

Despite a worrying forecast of prolonged showers, the afternoon turned out to be mostly dry and sunny, with just a five minute flurry of rain.

As usual, I cast my lens around to capture the atmosphere both on stage and in the castle grounds. As a sponsor I was also able to take advantage of a backstage pass that allowed me to take shots from the back of the stage as well as in front.

You can either click on the images below to scroll through the gallery or view an on-page slideshow.

I have two more music events to photograph this year – Rockin’ The Car Park at The Farmer’s Boy in Brickendon and the fantastic Wilkestock, which this year is a three day event (after which I’ll probably need a few days off!).

To find out more about my event photography services just visit www.steve.beeston.co.uk/event-photography.asp.

Wilkestock 2011

I spent last weekend covering Wilkestock, a two-day boutique festival that takes place deep in the Hertfordshire countryside. The event features a main stage with live music, a dance tent, chill-out teepees, the Wilkestock Lodge bar area and a campsite.

Having attended the festival last least I was pretty clear about what I wanted to achieve in covering the event and the challenges. It’s about capturing the performances, the audience and the setting, both on and around the stage as well as the wider environment.

Weatherwise the festival was gifted with warm sunny weather and with a southwesterly facing stage, lighting during the day was not going to be a problem. The layout of the stage area also makes it easy to get near the front, so a 55-200mm zoom lens was perfectly adequate.

Having once been a drummer in a couple of bands I always try and get a few shots of the man (or woman) at the back. Whilst angles can always be a bit tricky here but I was happy with what was able to achieve.

The audience at Wilkestock is predominantly young and more than happy to demonstarte how much of a good time they’re having. I frequently had people coming up to me asking if I would take their photos.

As daylight fell the lighting conditions on stage changed of course, as daylight was replaced by stage lighting. The strong colours can sometimes be hard to catch and it’s best at this point to disable AWB (Auto White Balance) and choose a suitable setting. I find that either tungsten or cloudy setting works just fine.

As well as shots close to the stage I also got some very good pictures further back, showing the audience and wider stage environment.

For many of the evening shots I used a fast f1.8 lens, although this is only suitable for front-on shots. Given the narrow depth of field at the wider aperture it’s not suitable for shots from the side of the stage unless you can closely crop the image, which of course depends on the suitability of the composition.

I took over 1500 images at Wilkestock and posted over 200 on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stevebeestonphotography. There are two galleries – Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.

Rockin’ The Car Park

The Farmer’s Boy in Brickendon staged a charity festival in their car park at the weekend. This was the third year that the public house have held the event, which features local bands, real ale and a hog roast.

The bands perform on the trailer of an articulated lorry, kitted out with rudimentary lighting, amps and monitors. Whilst the set-up allows for some good angles the lighting can be a bit tricky, especially towards the end of the day.

Another downside of the staging is that the backdrop can be quite ugly. No amount of bokeh is going to hide an unpleasant background so close behind a performer. However, this isn’t a problem with closely cropped shots such as the one below.

Opportunities to capture a whole band are also limited by the angles and staging, given the low height of the trailer.

Despite the limitations there are opportunities for plenty of good shots at such events, not to mention the great music.

Rockin’ The Car Park is held in aid of the NSCPP.

If you’d like to know more about the event photography services I offer, please visit www.stevebeeston.co.uk//event-photography.asp.

Music & Motors

Once a year musicians and motorists join forces in Ware’s Tudor Square for an afternoon of acoustic music and classic cars.

The event offers plenty of photo opportunities, with both performers and cars making excellent subjects. Sadly, on this occasion the performance area did not offer good sightlines with engineers and officials hanging around in the background.  The cars however were a lot more accommodating.

When photographing cars I like to concentrate on design and detail. Features such as badges and  instrumentation make for good close-ups.

Shapes and lines also make for good studies, particularly front and rear ends, as well as lighting equipment.

The Cadillac pictured below has some particularly dramatic features.

Other focal points can include engines – especially if they’ve been kept looking their best, interiors and any period artefacts. Many proud owners will also dress up for the occasion.

And if it happens to rain you can always take advantage of the classic raindrops on paintwork theme!

To find out more about the event photography services I offer please visit my website at www.stevebeeston.co.uk.

Hertford Music Festival

As a sponsor of Hertford Music Festival, I am providing photographic services for the five week event, covering the opening Musical Mystery Tour, through other performances up to the highlight of the festival, Rock At The Castle in August.

The Musical Mystery Tour sees over a hundred musicians performing at various venues around the town centre, with the centre of activity outside The White Hart in Salisbury Square.

Continue reading Hertford Music Festival

Festival Roundup

During the Summer I attended a number of local music festivals, including The Westmill Farm Festival, Bramfield Music and Beer Festival and Wilkestock.

I love photographing festivals. When you’re right up at the front the music completely surrounds you and the energy levels are fantastic. It’s great to be able to capture some of that atmosphere and the energy of the musicians.

The Bodells' Credence Pym

As well as the performers I also like to focus on the audience. There are some great shots to be had of people enjoying themselves. If they know you’re taking photos of them they will often be keen to let you know just how much fun they’re having!

Most local festivals feature a couple of stages so there is rarely any let-up in the workload. No sooner has one band finished their set on one stage than another starts on the second stage. Often, the smaller stage will feature solo or acoustic acts, who fill in between the main bands.

Christina Novelli

The long Summer days also ensure that there is plenty of light well into the evening, although as the sun sets, the limitations of the lighting rig can present it’s challenges. This was not an issue at Wilkestock where organisers invested in a highly sophisticated lighting operation.

Luckily the weather was good at for all the festivals, with only The Westmill Farm Festival suffering a couple of torrential downpours, although they were shortlived. The showers however were a gift to the beer tent, where demand increased dramatically.

 

The Bramfield Music and Beer Festival takes place annually on Bramfield Village Green and is organised by The Grandison.

Westmill Farm Festival takes place over two days at Westmill Farm just north of Ware.

Wilkestock is organised by Tom and Ollie Wilkes and takes place in their back garden at Old Hall, just south of Stevenage.